One of the biggest challenges that small nonprofits face is a need for funds to achieve their missions, but they have no budget pay staff or invest in marketing and advertising to get their message out the get funds to achieve their mission. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a professional or make a huge investment to create a simple fundraising program to raise money for your operations.
Step 1: Delegate. As a rescue group, you may tend to concentrate on needs such as finding foster homes or making sure you have enough resources to care for your incoming critters.
To start fundraising, you’ll probably need to expand your network. If your current network of volunteers and foster parents don’t have the skills or the time to help you with a project like this, there is someone out there who will be excited to. Lots of people are looking for volunteer opportunities and are willing to lend to a helping hand.
Sites like Catchafire and Idealist have “job boards” for volunteer opportunities. If you have a social media presence advertise your opportunity there. You could also contact a local community college or university and post an internship. There are lots of people out there who are ready to help, all you need to do is ask.
Step 2: Have a website. You don’t have to be a professional to get a website for your organization. There are several companies that provide a “drag-and-drop” interface, such as Weebly and Wix, that are incredibly easy to use, even for someone with no experience.
These sites do offer a free version of their service, and those are pretty good. But it’s a good idea to pay a little money and get your own URL. This makes it a lot easier for people to find your website.
Step 3: Start an email list. One of the best choices for groups getting started with building an email list is MailChimp.
MailChimp is very popular, they offer lots of support if you need and they are completely free if you have a small (under 500 names) email list. Collect email addresses anywhere you can such as adoption events, people who adopt from you, fans on social media, etc.
Step 4: Send a monthly newsletter. Once you start collecting email addresses, communicating with your subscribers on a regular basis. Create a template that is on brand with your organization and find a “formula” that works for creating your newsletter.
For example, in each newsletter you could have an update on what happened the previous month (how many dogs and cats were adopted, new foster parents or volunteers, etc.), highlight a pet that is currently up for adoption, and let your subscribers know about adoption events coming up. And ,of course, direct subscribers to your shop and remind them what the proceeds go to.
Step 5: Make your appeal. Communicating with your subscribers regularly helps you build relationships, ultimately building trust. Building these relationships and trust means that when you have an urgent need or are making an appeal for supplies, you already have a group of people who love your cause and are ready to help.
Be strategic in your appeals. Be specific about what you need, for example a food drive, or create a financial goal for something that your donors can rally behind.
Make the most of your Profits for Pets shop by reminding your subscribers about your shop, let them know what’s new, and take advantage of special times of year, like the holiday season.
Remember that people want to know about your work, what you’re doing and what you need. If they have given you their email address they want to see an email from you, so make the most of it!